Titian. Three Ages of Man, 1512. Detail.

Poems from 'Agaynste a Comely Coystrowne' and 'Dyuers Balettys and Dyties Solacyous'
By John Skelton

WITH lullay, lullay, like a child,
Thou sleepèst too long, thou art beguiled!

"My darling dear, my daisy flower,
Let me," quoth he, "lie in your lap."
"Lie still," quoth she, "my paramour,
Lie still hardily1, and take a nap."
His head was heavy, such was his hap,
All drowsy, dreaming, drowned in sleep,
That of his love he took no keep,
      With hey, lullay, etc.

With ba, ba, ba, and bas, bas, bas!
She cherished him both cheek and chin
That he wist never where he was;
He had forgotten all deadly sin!
He wanted wit her love to win:
He trusted her payment and lost all his pay;
She left him sleeping and stale2 away,
      With hey, lullay, etc.

The rivers rough, the waters wan;
She sparèd not to wet her feet.
She waded over, she found a man
That halsèd3 her heartily and kissed her sweet;
Thus after her cold she caught a heat.
"My lief,4" she said, "rowteth5 in his bed;
Iwys6 he hath an heavy head,"
      With hey, lullay, etc.

What dreamest thou, drunkard, drowsy pate?
Thy lust and liking is from thee gone;
Thou blinkard blowboll7, thou wakèst too late;
Behold thou liest, luggard, alone!
Well may thou sigh, well may thou groan,
To deal with her so cowardly.
Ywis, pole-hatchet,8 she blearèd thine eye!
            Quoth Skelton Laureate.



Lullay
Lullay


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Confidently.
Stole.
Embraced.
Love.
Snores.
Indeed.
Blinking Drunkard.
Poleax carrying soldier.

 



Modernized and glossed from the excellent

Skelton, John. Poems. Robert S. Kinsman, ed.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969. 1-2.




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